Winter is here and that means snow for many of us! For me, the snow doesn't usually accumulate very much or it melts pretty quickly, but enough snow fell last week to where I needed to shovel the driveway. Shoveling snow can be some pretty good exercise, but you also need to make sure to protect yourself from injury. Here are a few tips that I recommend when shoveling snow this winter:
1. Pace yourself! Snow can be pretty heavy and I know it might seem best to get everything done as quick as possible, but your heart rate is going to skyrocket into dangerous territory if you're trying to toss snow like it's an AMRAP (as many reps as possible). Take 2-minute breaks, go slower, and pay attention to any lightheadedness as well.
2. Keep a tight back at all times! This means shoulders down and back with a neutral spine, no spaghetti spines!! Snow shovels are not usually very tall and even I, being at 5'5'', feel like I'm bending down a good amount to scoop up snow. A wrecked back is bad news for anyone and everyone, no matter what you do for work or your daily life. By keeping your back nice and tight while lifting the heavy snow, it helps protect your spine and, in my experience, will prevent or lessen any soreness the next day. Don't forget to bend your knees instead of curving your back to get down and lift the snow.
3. Take a rest day! Shoveling snow is a pretty good workout in itself and if I'm shoveling snow for a good long while, I sometimes just count that as an active rest day and wait until the next day to do my gym workout. It's OK if you decide to still go, but just keep in mind that you don't want to be overstressing your back.
Stay safe this winter!